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Discussion Starter #1
I believe the Elise COULD be marketed successfully to a large American consumer-base without changing a thing. I don't think it would be easy, but it's certainly possible. I think it could be done inexpensively, too. A good start would be to eliminate the "BUT" from auto mag writers' minds. Make them realize that the car is not great "BUT" no amenities, rather it has no amenities "BECAUSE" that means better performance. People will catch on quickly once the writers understand. why "no amenities" is an amenity in itself. ;)

The perfect example of a car that did exactly what I propose the Elise could do is the VW Beetle. In the late 50s / early 60s, the Beetle was introduced into a market flooded with 2 ton tanks from Detroit. People were conditioned by the media to believe that kind of car was desirable. Then came Volkswagen and with a couple print ads changed the minds of many people who were ready for a car that thought differently. Ever heard of the "Lemon" and "Think Small" ads by Kroner?

Here's one of the ads:


Granted, the ad strategy itself was largely responsible for the car's success. It was ingeniously architected to make people figure out on their own that Detroits behemoths were not as great as they had been made to believe.

I believe that a similar campaign could be created relating to sports cars for the Elise. You've got a huge target market of young males who have been taught to love stripped 4-cyllinders from the whole "import tuner" scene. Once they're in their 30s and 40s and making a decent income, they're the perfect market for the Elise. That would make the Elise the perfect substitute for the Corvette, which is now targeting people who had Mustangs and Camaros in college.

For me, it's not a question of whether Lotus COULD do it. I know they could. It's only a question of if they SHOULD. Lotus' image could be significantly tarnished if owners start adding body kits and 19" rims to them.
 

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Steve,
That was long before obesity was the number one killer in US, the bigger is better SUV mindset, the turning their vehicles into extensions of their homes (ie makeup, phones, computers, vid games, food.....)

The average american is now too lazy and sluglike in imho.
Chris
 

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The thing you're missing is that Lotus couldn't build enough cars to feed a mass market if their lives depended on it (Hale or no Hale).

It's simply the wrong technology/design/engineering/ethos. Anyone who has been to the factory can vouch for that fact. Go down the unitized body construction route and you'd manage it - but then the car would be unrecognisable and/or have a Porsche badge on the front...

... and when I can afford/want a Porsche I'll buy a real one!

:)
 

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transio said:


The perfect example of a car that did exactly what I propose the Elise could do is the VW Beetle. In the late 50s / early 60s, the Beetle was introduced into a market flooded with 2 ton tanks from Detroit. People were conditioned by the media to believe that kind of car was desirable. Then came Volkswagen and with a couple print ads changed the minds of many people who were ready for a car that thought differently. Ever heard of the "Lemon" and "Think Small" ads by Kroner?
Seems like MINI's already started to do this
 

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Re: Re: Re: Lotus Elise for the Masses!!!

agent.5 said:
Size does not matter. Weight does. Mini is 2678 lbs. Too heavy, I say.
:confused:

has nothing to do with the response I posted
 

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Lotus Elise for the Masses!!!

atyclb said:
:confused:

has nothing to do with the response I posted

Sorry. I should not have quoted your message. "Think light," I say. Not "Think small"
 

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Why the big rush to bring 10,000 Lotus to the US shores any way? Personally I like the fact my car has idiosyncracies and it's rare. If you want mass produced buy a Honda. If you want a car lacking personallity, buy a Toyota.

Hale is like a number of previous CEO's at Lotus Car USA (LCU) who think they can bring it main stream. They tried this with the lovely little M100 Elan when GM owned Lotus and came to the maket $10,000 higher then they should have. For those of you with orders beyond delivery in 2004, be prepared for a price hike!

Mark

PS: I miss Arnie already!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Paul MD said:
The thing you're missing is that Lotus couldn't build enough cars to feed a mass market if their lives depended on it (Hale or no Hale).
I think Lotus could match the production of Corvettes. That would be 20k Elises per year. I think that's definitely possible with some expansion of their manufacturing facilities.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Feffman said:
Why the big rush to bring 10,000 Lotus to the US shores any way?
I never said that it should be done in the context of this discussion. All I did was raise the theoretical possibility of doing so. I personally don't think Lotus should bring more than 5,000 Elises per year to the US. I think more than that, even with the demand for them, would change their image too significantly, especially if they're looking to bring in a $125k Esprit replacement in a few years. They'll want to maintain the "exotic" image.
 

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Steve,
As Mark pointed out, the last time they tried to mass market a car in ths US was the m100 fiasco, they comitted to 1500 a year (huge for Lotus at that time) for the US market. THe target price was 30K, when they finally hit the US market they were 42k. front wheel drive and few people wanted them. pulled the plug 6-9 months later after discounting the cars to 26K. I bought mine a few months after the launch for 26k brand new out the door, they sold about 600 in the US. That's why it took ARNIE years to get the elise here. Lotus never even considered the US in it's elise plans.

Hale is not going to be exploring new territory, they've been over this ground before, whenever Lotus has tried to change from the small performance car oriented market, they've blown it.


Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #12
zvezdah1 said:
Hale is not going to be exploring new territory, they've been over this ground before, whenever Lotus has tried to change from the small performance car oriented market, they've blown it.
Chris, good points. Let's just hope that Hale can learn from Lotus' previous mistakes and make it work this time. :)
 

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There was once this company called DMC, they tried to be the new beetle for a new era. We all know what happened to them.

Unlike DMC if Lotus can generate a desire first before going full production then they could stand a chance.

Also I don't think they will go into production #'s that high until the bumper and headlight redesign is done to make completely DOT compliant. Isn't that part of how they got around the requirments too, being low production #'s?
 

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transio said:
I think Lotus could match the production of Corvettes. That would be 20k Elises per year. I think that's definitely possible with some expansion of their manufacturing facilities.

I would love the Elise to continue to be a rare sighting, for years I'm not sure why you want a Lotus in every garage. I don't think Lotus has any interest in that either.


Steve
 

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Ferrari could perhaps increase their market (and lower their costs ?!) by producing 100K cars a year. So could Rolls Royce, Aston Martin or anyone else. Why don't they do it ? Because that is not their market. BMW 3 series is a case in point - great car, sold millions of them, and now many "enthusiasts" who would have bought one are looking elsewhere because "everybody has one".
If Lotus produced 10K cars a year (or, god forbid, 20K !!), then the whole company would have to change, and their market would change. I don't care how good a car the Elise is, if everyone else has one, I'll go elsewhere.
I think the whole persona of Lotus is being lost by making this suggestion. Just my opinion :D
Giles.
 

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Lotus isn't going to produce 100,000 cars a year. There simply isn't a market for that may true sports cars. If they "plush" out the cars, they won't sell - they will be too expensive, and if you are the type of person to buy the car for the "image" then you buy the car that will impress the other people ("Porsche", etc.) - Lotus simply isn't the name to impress people.

When you mention that you have a Lotus, the common response is "Who make those?". When you mention that you have a BMW, or Porsche, the common response is "Ohhh... Cool..." (or something along those lines).

I could car less if everyone else has a Lotus or not. I've owned my Lotus for all these years because it pleases me . I could car less if it impresses other people. If the guy next door also has a Lotus, all the better - there is a least one more enthusiasts around, and the more the merrier. I currently drive a Miata as my daily driver (the Elan is the garage queen - it's too valuable to me to risk in everyday traffic with the idiots around here). Although they are relatively common, I don't see that many of them on the road (and when I do, I wave at the driver). I don't like mine any less because of the others.

If you are buying a Lotus to impress other people or because you want the "image", you are probably making a mistake. You really only should be buying a Lotus because you like driving] the Lotus - any other reason and you will probably be disappointed.

I don't think that Lotus should jump in and start ramping up production until they determine exactly how well the Elise is going to sell. And I don't mean people like me that have been waiting for 8 years (with the deposit down for more than two years). What will be the demand for the Elise in two years, after the waiting list has been filled? If the demand is still there and things are going well, then maybe it will sustain the production. If not, then they will have not lost huge amounts of money on something that just didn't work out. 2,500 car a year? For one or two years definitely. For three to five years? Not so sure...

Lotus has done a pretty good job of taking a company that was on the verge of going out of business (due to past blunders of "going up market", "upping production", and "appealing to the masses") to a pretty strong profitable company now. Slow and strong beats out of business any day...

Tim Mullen
 

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TimMullen said:
If you are buying a Lotus to impress other people or because you want the "image", you are probably making a mistake. You really only should be buying a Lotus because you like driving] the Lotus - any other reason and you will probably be disappointed.
I don't know about that Tim. I love driving the car from my test drives and think about doing so all the time. But I love the way it looks and the way it sounds and the fact that no one knows what it is and the probability that not everyone will want this car. These features are icing on the cake and contribute to the experience.

It's not as if Ferraris are purchased soley on the basis of the driving factor...they are not.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
TimMullen said:
When you mention that you have a Lotus, the common response is "Who make those?". When you mention that you have a BMW, or Porsche, the common response is "Ohhh... Cool..." (or something along those lines).
That's not because of how many are produced, but rather because BMW and Porsche have been successfully branded in America, while Lotus has been poorly branded. Ferrari makes about the same number of cars per year as Lotus, but everyone has heard of them. Why do you think that is?

I think Lotus could only benefit from branding themselves. Even if they don't want to sell 100,000 units, they can use that branding to increase demand for their cars, which will increase their profitability.
 
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